Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion
St. Patrick’s is committed to the ideals of equity and inclusion in all aspects of our program and community—in our curriculum, student body, and faculty and staff.
The work of equity and justice must be at the heart of an Episcopal parish day school education. St. Patrick’s Episcopal Day School’s determination to promote equity and justice, diversity, and inclusion proceeds from two fundamental ideas: First, that every individual has infinite value as a child of God and, second, that we come to understand the world more fully through others. As such, our community is committed to exploring, understanding, and honoring the multiplicity of human experiences and identities that enrich our lives, including differences in belief, ethnicity, race, culture, country of origin, economic background, age, family configuration, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and ability. It is within a diverse and inclusive community that is welcoming and safe for all participants that we are best able to develop the skills necessary to be actively engaged and to thrive in an interconnected world, to understand other perspectives, to address bias, to oppose prejudice and to promote justice.
As a community of valued individuals, we celebrate our differences and appreciate our commonalities as children of God.
Areas of measurement:
- Our school environment – visually, aesthetically, programmatically, and in all other ways – represents, and is accessible to, all children.
- Our curriculum emphasizes the educational value of seeing issues from multiple points of view and fosters crucial thinking about bias.
- Our curricular materials are up-to-date. They value difference in culture (including geographical and historical setting), religion, socio-economic status, family configuration, gender, sexual orientation, age, and physical and cognitive abilities.
An inclusive community is one that represents a diverse population, embracing people of varying ages, abilities, ethnicities, family configurations genders, sexual orientations, races, religions, and socio-economic backgrounds. Each member of the St. Patrick’s community is responsible for promoting equal access and equal respect in the school setting and in the greater St. Patrick’s community.
Areas of measurement:
- Our school has admission policies and processes that promote inclusion.
- Our school actively seeks faculty and staff who come from diverse backgrounds.
- Our school reaches out to all parents and includes them in the life of the school in meaningful ways.
- Our school is a place that reflects and represents the diversity in our community and beyond.
It is our ongoing responsibility to represent St. Patrick’s accurately as we clarify who we are and who we want to be and to be aware of our own biases and prejudices.
Areas of measurement
- Assessment is valued as a continuous process in the classroom and in the community and is recognized as a way to promote responsiveness to change.
- Assessment is included as a formal part of the faculty evaluation process.
- Ongoing education is a premise and a reality for faculty, administration, staff, parents, and Trustees.
- Curriculum Highlights
- Affinity Groups
- Faculty and Staff Equity Committee
- Faculty and Staff Professional Development
- Parent Programming
- Strategic Plan
We divide this curriculum into four main areas of focus: identity, diversity, justice, and action. Here, under each focus area, is a sampling of some of the lessons, by grade level.
- Share family photos (in personal albums, on cubbies, and posted around our classrooms) (Nursery and PK)
- All About Me Identity Projects (Kindergarten, Grade 1)
- Explore aspects of identity through discussion and interviews (Grade 1)
- Identify symbols of self (Grades 1 and 2)
- Identity Maps (exploring social issues) (Grade 3)
- Realistic fiction based on personal narratives (Grades 3 and 4)
- Asking how present and historical culture shape our identities (Grade 5)
- Day of the Dead study in Spanish, sharing personal stories of heritage (Grade 5)
- In Spanish, describing personality traits, physical descriptions, and cultural differences (Grades 5 - 7)
- Study coming-of-age stories and discussing identity (Grade 8)
- Discussions of who we are and how we are alike and different (Nursery and PK)
- Holiday of Light: A unit in which students study different cultures, creeds, traditions, clothing, decor, music, and song, then the students design their own class holidays (Kindergarten)
- Study of folk tales, Porquoi tales, and fairy tales across cultures (Grade 1)
- Identity project: Looking at gender, race, socioeconomics and family unit structure and custom (Grade 6)
- Discussing literature from picture books to novels and advanced nonfiction that explores topics including race and ethnicity, religion, gender and sexual orientation, family structure, language, socioeconomic status, ability, culture, region, and age (Nursery - Grade 8)
- Using words to resolve conflict, respond to unfriendly behavior, and stand up for one's self (Nursery and PK)
- Discussing peace within a Responsive Classroom framework (Kindergarten)
- Who owns artifacts? Studying justice in the context of archaeology as part of the annual dig (Grade 5)
- Home of the Brave literature unit explores refugees (Grade 6)
- Humanities Civil Rights trip (Grade 8)
- Studying biography and identifying related issues of social justice from Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. to Gandhi (Kindergarten - Grade 8)
- Helping Hands Days: Monthly soup and trail-mix making for school's participation in the Salvation Army's Grate Patrol project (Nursery and PK)
- Souper Bowl can drive (Grade 2)
- Raising money for lunch program at St. Etienne in Haiti, in coordination with the Haiti Partnership Program (Grade 3)
- Write persuasive letters (Kindergarten through Grade 8)
- Studying people who have taken action (Kindergarten-Grade 8)
- Capstone projects: Many of these year-long projects focus on social issues (Grade 8)
Book club for students in Kindergarten through Grade 5: Each month one book is chosen to be read aloud in all classes. The books cover and foster conversation around a wide variety of topics including friendship, difference, stereotypes, empathy, and inclusivity. Reading aloud, paired with whole-class conversations, allows us to bring certain relationships and issues to the surface, and, at the same time, teach literacy.
- Parents of Black Students (PBSA)
- Jewish Faculty Affinity Group
- C3 (Culture, Creed, and Community)
- Club San Patricio
- Asian Heritage Group
The Club San Patricio was formed in 2003 to bring together Spanish-speaking families and friends at St. Patrick’s Episcopal Day School interested in preserving and celebrating their language and cultural traditions. Over the years, we have enjoyed moments at our events including folding colorful tissue paper into marigolds to celebrate the Mexican Dia de los Muertos, cracking open a piñata full of treats, enjoying sweet churros and chocolate caliente on the school playground, and eating a delicious Corona de Reyes to celebrate the arrival of the Three Kings on Epiphany. During one of our playdates on the school playground, we are not sure who enjoyed it more–the children or the parents. While the events are organized by Latin American and Spanish parents, all St. Patrick’s families are welcome.
The St. Patrick’s Equity Committee (formed in January 1994 as the Diversity and Multicultural Committee) brings together faculty members with a focus on motivating and monitoring the school’s progress toward the equity goals that flow naturally from the Day School’s Mission Statement and Statement of Philosophy. St. Patrick’s faculty members regularly attend workshops and lectures, participate in community forums and discussion groups, and set specific equity goals. They are supported in this important work by the Day School’s Board of Trustees, the St. Patrick’s Parents Association, and the Assistant Head of School for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.
Many members of the St. Patrick's faculty and staff have participated in professional development around issues of equity, inclusion, diversity, race, multiculturalism, and cultural competence. In addition to our work on campus with Dr. Derrick Gay, in 2016 members of the faculty have attended nearly half a dozen professional events specifically focused on these issues including the POCC conference, CARLE, and the AIMS Diversity Conference, among others.
Members of the St. Patrick's faculty and staff created a book club focused on issues of equity and inclusion. Led by Grade 6 teacher Julia Smith in 2015-2016, the group read Waking Up White by Debbie Irving.
Dr. Derrick Gay
St. Patrick'sis engaged in two years of work with Dr. Derrick Gay, a consultant who works with schools to bring out their best in terms of inclusion, diversity, and global citizenship. In 2016, Dr. Gay spent a day with the entire faculty and staff at St. Patrick's, presented to parents, and worked in small groups with teachers. In 2017, he will work with our students and analyze the climate at St. Patrick's. We are honored to continue this work with him.
The Equity Committee suggests the following web resources for families interested in learning more about Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in schools.
- Black Student Fund
- Latino Student Fund
- Eastern Educational Resource Collaborative
- National Association of Independent Schools National Association of Episcopal Schools Teaching Tolerance
- Interfaith Calendar
- National Association for Multicultural Education
- PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays
The Board of Trustees recently concluded an inclusive and wide-ranging strategic planning effort. From that process, St. Patrick's identified four initiatives to guide decision-making in the near-term. One of those initiatives is a commitment to expanding our work in equity, diversity, and inclusion.
To that end, St. Patrick's created a new position, Assistant Head of School for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and appointed Erica Thompson to that position. A longtime member of the St. Patrick's community, Erica has served as St. Patrick’s Equity Coordinator, chair of the Faculty and Staff Equity Committee, and a Lower School learning specialist and, from 2000 to 2003, as Assistant Head of School. A particular area where Erica contributes to this important work at St. Patrick's is in curriculum development.
The Board of Trustees has committed itself to investing resources and identifying additional strategies for addressing diversity and inclusion in the student body and in the faculty, staff, and administration, promoting the overall excellence of our program and the quality of the experience of each and every child and family. As we observe in the Day School Mission Statement for Equity and Diversity, “It is within a diverse community that we are best able to educate ourselves and one another to live in a global society, to actively and effectively promote justice, and to oppose prejudice and bias.”
We look forward to sharing our work towards this vital priority in preparing students to thrive and contribute in the 21st century.
Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while or the light won’t come in.Isaac Asimov